9 things we learned on the set of Grantchester | Virgin Media
9 things we learned on the set of Grantchester

9 things we learned on the set of Grantchester

02/03/2016TV

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If you like your crime-fighting odd couples, you’ll be glad to know that one of the best in recent times is back on our screens this week for a second series. Grantchester, starring James Norton (War & Peace, Happy Valley) as Anglican priest Sidney Chambers and Robson Green (Strike BackSoldier, Soldier), as grumpy Detective Inspector Geordie Keating, is back for more murder, mystery and… Morrissey.

There’s behaving badly and then there’s… murder.

There’s behaving badly and then there’s… murder.

Eh? No, not the singing one. Neil Morrissey (Men Behaving Badly, The Night Manager) joins the cast as Harding Redmond, a Grantchester resident whose daughter is found dead in the first episode. If you can believe it, Redmond dares to point an accusing finger at our dear Sidney. Will our charming clergyman be able to prove his innocence?

To find out more, we headed down to the set of Grantchester for some investigating of our very own. Is Dickens the dog coming back? Does the Geordie/Sidney bromance exist off screen? How does Green really feel about Unchained Melody? Here’s what we learned…

1. Yes, Dickens the dog is back

The problem with asking a dog to sniff out dead bodies.

The problem with asking a dog to sniff out dead bodies.

Phew! You can rest easy now. The beloved black Labrador from the first series is back and it’s even the same dog. “Less sausages were required this series now he’s learned his craft,” says Norton.

2. James Norton is a real Jekyll and Hyde

We don’t mean it like that. In fact, from meeting him, we reckon he’s probably one of the nicest men in the world. We’re talking about the very short space of time he gets between filming saintly Sidney and his more devilish role, Happy Valley’s Tommy Lee Royce (watch him in Happy Valley, Tuesdays, 9pm, BBC One).

“Last year it was pretty much back-to-back. This year I’ve had a few weeks between this and Happy Valley. In a way, it’s lovely to play them close together because they are very much the two extremes. Filming them at the same time would be a nightmare. I need a few weeks to get my head straight… and get my hair done as well! But I can’t allow Sidney to have any little psychopathic moments, or let Tommy suddenly become a little bit holy.”

3. Robson Green has some words of advice for his younger self

Extreme church-sitting with Robson Green.

Extreme church-sitting with Robson Green.

“Never do anything that you don’t instinctively feel comfortable with. Unchained Melody? Always trust your instincts. Don’t sing. Let’s leave it at that.”

4. Mrs McGuire is a mother hen on and off screen

“I try not to mother them,” Tessa Peake-Jones (Only Fools And Horses`) says, “but Al [Weaver, who plays Sidney’s curate Leonard] and James are of the age where they could be my sons. I do have a tendency to cluck when I hear them moaning about having late nights and being tired. I have to stop and tell myself, hang on, you’re not my children!”

Life’s no picnic for the residents of Grantchester.

Life’s no picnic for the residents of Grantchester.

5. The Poldark Effect is very much a reality

“That shot of Aidan Turner made me feel incredibly inadequate and emasculated,” Norton laughs. “I think every man was like ‘Oh, wow…’ The focus has been more on women over the last however-many-decades, so it’s probably right that the tables should turn for a bit!”

“I don’t feel pressure,” Green says, “but when you get to my age and, you know, HD… if you’ve put on a few pounds it’s pretty obvious! There are a few gym wars going on between me and James – we were doing press-ups by the riverbank before the swimming scene… I won the battle, he won the war.”

What swimming scene, you ask? It’s in the trailer at the top…

6. Green texts on-screen wife Kacey Ainsworth every time they film

“‘Had a lovely day today’, it’ll say, or ‘see you next week’. He doesn’t have to do that, he’s just such a nice guy,” Ainsworth sighs. “Everybody loves Robson, don’t they? I think he’s actually better in real life than he is on screen, if that’s possible.”

7. Don’t be fooled – Geordie’s no softie

See that mark above Green’s left eyebrow (below)? That’s a scar. Granted, it’s make-up, but we just had to ask him about it…

Make up or break up for Robson Green.

Make up or break up for Robson Green.

“This series we deal with the consequences of murder in the 1950s. Geordie believes in the death penalty and Sidney doesn’t. You have these two very valid arguments challenging one another and it’s going to affect the relationship. Sometimes, words aren’t enough – that’s all I’m saying.”

8. But don’t fret – the bromance is stronger than ever

“I had to sit between Robson and James once at a cast dinner and did feel like a bit of a gooseberry. I had to put a stop to that,” Ainsworth says. Green grins, “Be it Jerome Flynn, Mark Benton, Stephen Tompkinson, I’ve been so lucky. James is a very good friend. It’d be great if this went to a third series.”

A new musical duet on the cards?

A new musical duet on the cards?

9. And never say never to a Slater sisters reunion in EastEnders

“It’s not like they haven’t asked,” Ainsworth whispers.

 

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